#Black Lives Matter/Police Brutality and Police Militarization-KU Conversations 3


By Courtney Aaron

Good Morning KU students and welcome to our third posting of KU Conversations! This week’s discussion is about both the newest US movement Black Lives Matter and Police Militarization. We chose these two subjects as our topics because we have some exciting events happening on campus over the next couple weeks related to the topics. The first event, which will be held on Tuesday February 23rd, is a panel discussion. It will be held by the KU Criminal Justice department at 6pm in Schaeffer auditorium. The panel discussion is called Police Use of Force: An American Crisis and the event is free and open to the public. The other event is taking place on Tuesday March 29th. This event will be a lecture delivered by Alicia Garza one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. The lecture will be held at 7pm in Schaeffer auditorium. This event is also free but requires tickets that you can get from the KU Presents! office in Schaeffer room 200. You can pick up tickets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am to 2pm and Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 2pm.

For those of you who don’t know about the Black Lives Matter movement or don’t know many details concerning it, we found some great resources that don’t require a current KU ID to access.

  • Our first source is from the official Black Lives Matter website.
  • Next we have an interview article written by Alicia Garza herself from the Feminist Wire. Not only does this article explain the creation and purpose of Black Lives Matter, but it also talks about how the movement was misused by others and answers the question as to why they didn’t choose the name All Lives Matter.
  • This last article is accompanied by a video interview by USA Today with Alicia Garza and has a focus on the use of modern technology and social media within the movement.
  • We also found some scholarly articles using SocIndex with Full-text from EBSCOHost (may require KU Login) that delve into deeper topics within the movement. One analyzes the Black Lives Matter movement by comparing and contrasting it to the civil rights movement. Another looks into the class politics of the Black Lives Matter Movement by analyzing racial capitalism and the goals of African American led organizations.

This is a photograph taken in Ferguson Missouri by Mike Tigas. Protesters were located outside the Ferguson Police Department, Fire Station, and Municipal court on November 29, 2014.

While looking into Black Lives Matter, you may also hear about some previous movements that are supporting Black Lives Matter. We compiled a few articles about the better known movements. We’ll start with the Occupy Movement.

  • You may have heard about the Occupy Wall Street protests that are related  to the Occupy Movement but are specifically about the US. This first article provided by Vanity Fair is written by people directly involved with the protesting. In the article they write about how the protesting started and what inspired them to protest.
  • We also have an article that focuses on the Occupy Movement, which is on an international level with a Middle Eastern point of view.
  • Most of you have probably heard about the protests and issues with the Ferguson, Missouri riots, specifically concerning the shooting of Michael Brown. Here is an article that discusses the progression of the movement from just protesting to both protesting and rioting.
  • We also found a great article through ProQuest discussing the next steps for the movement about whether or not it will continue on strong or die out like some other movements have.
  • Within that same year there was another protest movement called “I Can’t Breathe” which started after the death of Eric Garner, a man who died after being put into a choke hold by a New York police officer. We found a powerful video called PS I Can’t Breathe that interviews protesters as the protests were happening.

This photograph was taken by Mike Tigas. Protesters and Police facing off in front of the Radio City Music Hall in New York City during the tree lighting ceremony.

Our final focus is on police militarization. A lot of people are questioning whether or not the police need more powerful equipment that are becoming very similar to the equipment that the military uses. Our first two sources from the Criminal Justice Abstracts with full-text database from EBSCOHost focus on this matter.

  • The first source defines police militarization and gives an overview of how the nature and purpose of the police started and how it has changed throughout the years. The article also discusses police politicization and how it has affected the shift in police purpose and formation.
  • Our second source is about the same topic but focuses on how the militarization of the police interferes with the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which was created to make sure armed forces couldn’t be used in civilian affairs.
  • Our final source concerns the current debate over whether police should wear body cams to prove or disprove statements and accusations involved with arrests. We found an article with a far right point of view on the subject that supports the use of body cams.

Do you plan on going to one of the upcoming events? What’s your opinion about police brutality and militarization? Feel free to discuss with others in the comments section or request a topic you are interested in discussing!



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